Landry was able to have some special big sister time with Parke on Thursday morning before he passed. This will probably surprise a lot of people, but she didn't even know he was sick. We hadn't really talked about that. She overlooked the oxygen, the medicine, the doctors visits, and all she saw was her baby brother...he was perfect and complete in her eyes.
Thursday morning, we brought her into our room and snuggled her up in the bed with the 3 of us. The first thing she did was lean down and kiss Parke's head. She giggled and laughed and said, "Baby Parke is teasin' me! He sounds like a little piggy!" His breathing was labored at that point, and it was a cute description and made us all giggle for her to describe it that way. I'm so thankful that she interpreted it that way and not as scary.
We told her for the first time that baby Parke was going to go live with Jesus.
She said, "But I want him to live with me!" and "When will he come back?"
We told her that he had a broken heart and it would be totally fixed in Heaven. We explained that one day we would all get to go live in heaven with Jesus and we would be with Parke again on that day.
She said, "But I don't have a broken heart."
Landry also kept saying, "But I still want TWO brudders!"
We told her that she will always have two brothers, and that she gets to tell people that she has a brother in heaven...not many little girls get to say that, and that makes her an extra special sister!
Her reply was, "But I want two brudders HERE."
She asked some tough questions...things we didn't expect from a 2 1/2 year old. But, it was amazing what she understood. I loved getting to tell her even more about God and his purpose for our lives.
One of Landry's favorite things about Parke were his "tiny feet!" She wanted to match their feet up that morning, so I snapped a quick picture. What a precious moment.
She loved on him and hugged him lots that morning. We never asked her to say "goodbye" because that isn't what I wanted her to remember. I asked her if she wanted to sing Jesus Loves Me to him, and she did. The way she sang it was priceless...
"Jesus loves me...you!" and would look at Parke.
"Yes, Jesus loves me...you! Yes, Jesus loves me...you!"
She wanted him to know that he was SO loved...because he was!
I'm glad I didn't post this a few days ago because since then, we have continued to be amazed at Landry's comprehension of the situation. Someone was sharing their condolences with us the other day when we were out, and Landry told them that her baby brother, Parke, was in heaven with Jesus. She told the lady, "Jesus is holding him because babies have to be watched." :)
Just this morning, she told me that she missed baby Parke and wanted him to come back to his home with her. We talked about how that wouldn't happen and that he is so happy to be where he is now. We talked about how we can anxiously await being joined with him again one day. I told her that we could pray and ask Jesus to tell Parke things if we wanted to and if that would make us feel better. She prayed and asked Jesus to give Parke a lollipop...and a taco. Ha!
She has been amazingly strong through this whole situation. Most of the time, she carries on as usual. There are those few moments of questions, and then she moves on with playing or telling stories. I hope that she keeps asking and keeps remembering her time with him.
Micah and I were discussing some areas of hurt for us over the weekend. We had some families close to ours who backed away when Parke was born and chose not to "expose" their family to his story or situation. We had others who practically would have lived with us for 7 weeks just to let their kids have a glimpse of God's hand working. I am so thankful that our kids got to be a daily part of Parke's story, and I am so thankful that Parke is a part of their life stories. I can't imagine it any other way, and we pray that as parents we live consciously choosing to expose our children to things that will help them know God on a more intimate level.
Even though Collier doesn't understand yet, we will be able to show him pictures of them together and teach him about God through Parke's miraculous little life. The questions may be tough, and the conversations are hard....but this is where life lessons are taught and accepted.
I had a church friend share this with me through email. Her kids never met Parke, but the fact that they used his story to Glorify and teach about God in their family was so touching and comforting to us.
"I cherish the lessons of love you have taught me and my family by your example. My children have cried and questioned God about Parke Henry's short life. It has been wonderful to discuss with my children about trusting our Lord with all of our fears and questions."
Thank you all for sharing your stories with us over email. We have received so many emails about purpose that Parke's life held. We will cherish those stories and look back with joy that his short life had meaning to others besides just us.